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2012 Ford Fiesta SE


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7. June 2012

There are several things that you ought to know about the Ford Fiesta. One is that while this is a comparatively small car, it drives like a bigger one. You are not going to be buffeted by tractor-trailers when driving it on the freeway. You are going to be able to drive it on the freeway without feeling like you wish you could use your feet to make it go faster. You are not going to be deafened by the roar of the outside world and the mechanisms under the hood. You are going to be happy when you watch what happens when you pull into a gas station and see the numbers on the pump roll not all that high.

You are going to feel pretty darn good about your Fiesta.

2011 Ford Fiesta 5-door Hatchback

While this is the small car that had all manner of buzz associated with it, for some reason—perhaps the fact that it is pretty close in size and price to the bigger Ford Focus—the car isn’t selling all that well. From January through May, there have been just 26,737 Fiestas sold in the U.S., and during the month of May alone there were 24,769 Focuses sold. Go figure.

Perhaps the good news for someone thinking about buying a Fiesta is that they won’t see themselves coming and going.

The styling is as fresh and unique as anything this side of a Hyundai (which has, arguably, become the styling benchmark in the mass-market vehicle sector).  And I  think that compared to the new Accent, the competitive Hyundai in the segment, the Fiesta has more panache. Not a lot more.  But more.  As regards the cross-town rival, it goes up against the Sonic, but I’d have to say that the Sonic is somewhat more staid in appearance—and let me hasten to say that I am talking about the Fiesta five-door hatch, because the sedan version is something that would change the positive tenor of this.

The car as driven has the optional six-speed automatic transmission, the PowerShift transmission, a dual-clutch transmission. The thing you need to know about that is simply that it helps contribute to the aforementioned high fuel efficiency of the vehicle, which is window stickered at 29 mpg city/39 mpg highway. In a run down 75 to Cincinnati and back I averaged 41.3 mpg. Those who haven’t driven a car with a dual-clutch transmission will know that there is something different about it. Those who haven’t but who have driven a car with a manual transmission will sense some similarities. No, you don’t have to do anything after you put the gear selector in “D.” The transmission takes care of all of the shifting. In fact, the reason it contributes to the fuel efficiency is because it shifts so fast that the car is always in the right gear.

PowerShift Dual-Clutch Automatic Transmission for 2011 Fiesta

                                    This is what that transmission looks like—in the factory, not in the car.

Unlike what had been the norm for cars of this category, the materials don’t seem like the leftovers from some jumble sale. Rather, they are of reasonably good quality and the graining on the IP has an unusual pattern that is in keeping with the overall uniqueness of the exterior styling.

While the company claims that there is seating for five, presumably counted in that number are children. Small children. The front is room enough, but things are somewhat truncated in the rear.

2011 Ford Fiesta Offers 15 Class-Exclusive Technologies

What you ought to know about the Fiesta is that if you’re looking some something small and efficient, stylish and reasonable, this is one you need to check out.

Selected specs

Engine: 1.6-liter Ti-VCT I4

Material: Aluminum block and head

Horsepower: 120 @ 6,350 rpm

Torque: 112 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm

Transmission: Six-speed automatic

Wheelbase: 98 in.

Length: 160.1 in.

Width: 67.8 in.

Height: 58 in.

Curb weight: 2,575 lb.

Base MSRP: 15,670

As driven: $19,025

EPA: 29/39 mpg city/hwy

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